Maternity Belts a Pregnancy Essential
Pregnancy Support Belts to Help you Through Your Day
Your tummy isn’t the only thing that changes with pregnancy. As your tummy grows, your back and hips make adjustments as ligaments loosen and your weight re-distributes. You’ve probably noticed that your balance is a bit off, too. All this weight change can be a very painful experience for your back. Fortunately, there are a number of types of pregnancy support belts to make you more comfortable, reduce back strain, and even help you regain some of your balance.
Why Buy a Maternity Support Belt
Being pregnant does not mean that you have to be uncomfortable all the time! Maternity support belts (and other pregnancy support systems) can do the following:
- Reduce lower back strain and pain
- Reduce pressure on your bladder
- Decrease leg swelling
- Improve posture (and further reducing back pain and strain)
- Prevent pre-term contractions
When to Buy
There is no ‘wrong’ time to buy a maternity belt. When you find yourself having a dull ache in your back, if your tummy feels heavy, having pre-term contractions, or if you find yourself with upper back pain (from rounding your shoulders or suffering from poor posture from the weight of your tummy) – you probably want to consider buying a maternity belt to help relieve your discomfort.
Different Types of Pregnancy Support Systems
There are several varieties of maternity support garments and belts out there.
Belly Bands. Belly Bands are a great fashion accessory to your maternity wardrobe, adding a hip and fashionable layered looked, and extending the life of your pre-pregnancy wardrobe. They’re also great for getting back into your non-maternity clothes after the baby arrives. With all the styles and designs, from solid colors to bold and fun designs, there is truly something for everyone out there. Most belly bands are made of a swimsuit-type or other knit fabrics that offer some support for your growing belly, reducing back strain.
Many women, especially those carrying large babies, entering their third trimester, or are carrying multiples, need extra support.
Maternity Support Undergarnments.You can purchase maternity undergarments with adjustable panels to help support your tummy. I tried one of these and, to be honest, it just didn’t work for me, although some women find that they offer enough tummy support for them.
Maternity Belts.When I was 20 weeks pregnant with our twins I was already having some contractions, and our midwife suggested a maternity belt. Simple in design, the belt ‘lifted’ my tummy weight, and I truly felt great. As my tummy grew it was still awkward to move around (especially getting out of chairs), but my lower back never suffered any strain or discomfort – except when I decided that I didn’t need the belt for the day. Although that never lasted for very long. The maternity belt also offers great post c-section support and relief as well.
Pregnancy Cradles.There are as many different kinds of maternity support belts as there are pregnant women. While some women prefer the basic maternity belt, I’ve spoken to many moms that preferred support systems, or ‘cradles’, with straps that go up and over the shoulders adding more all-over support. These systems usually offer more back support as well. There are more elaborate pregnancy cradle systems that provide “vulvar vein” support in the pelvic area as well.
What to Look For
Comfort – you don’t want to buy something with the intent of making you more comfortable, only to find out that it makes you uncomfortable! Remember to check out the material that your belt is made of. If it’s too stiff or too wide, you won’t be able to move comfortably. I actually saw a belt that was ‘lined’ with sheep skin. With as warm as my hormones kept me during my pregnancy, I couldn’t imagine the additional heat of a wool lined belt!
Ease of Care – most maternity belts, cradles, and other pregnancy support garments are machine – or at least hand – washable. However, I have seen some that are supposed to be ‘spot cleaned’ with a damp rag, only. With as often as you wear your belt, being able to clean it is essential!
How does it adjust – I strongly recommend going with adjustable maternity belts and cradles. You grow, and your body weight will most likely fluctuate with daily water gain. While you can wear most pregnancy support systems under your clothes comfortably, you may want to wear your belt over your pants and skirt. Having an adjustable pregnancy belt or cradle will help you get the best fit for the day possible. The most common closures for adjustable maternity belts and cradles are hook-and-eye and Velcro. Both have their pros and cons (for instance, with hook-and-eye you have to actually hook the belt together, but Velcro has been known to snag a variety of fabrics and the ‘hooks’ can be a collector of all sorts of hair and lint), and it really is a matter of choice.
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